Synopsis: ‘Last Post’ is a dramatic thriller set in rural Australia during the Great Depression. It tells the story of two brothers, both veterans of the Great War, who find themselves on opposite sides of the law.
The two strong central characters are Harry Cooper, a duty-bound police sergeant and his elder brother, Tom, a shell-shocked swaggie. Solid supporting characters, concentrated conflicts and a key theme of duty with subtextual themes of racism and the class divide underpin the film’s main story depicting a series of killings and the manhunt for the killer.
Swaggies, blackfellas and Chinamen feel the lash of the law while the white middle classes get away with murder. Thus it was and thus it still may be. The story views its war veteran as a victim of war and of society’s failure to recognise its debts of gratitude to those who made sacrifices in times of crisis.
Clever plotting, solid, non-stereotypical rural and Aboriginal characters, well-drawn, timeless locations – and the backdrop of a tightly-knit outback community against which the horrendous events unfold make ‘Last Post’ a drama of understated power and resonance.
Tom is a vengeful spirit roaming the countryside exacting payback on the ordinary Australians for whom he fought, and who have abandoned him and men like him – the swaggies. Sympathy lies with his brother, Harry, the copper, the man who sees both sides, who knows the cause of Tom’s insanity and yet understands the need to protect the wider community, even though they do not, and cannot understand what Harry and Tom have been through together.
Duty, what it costs the few and what it gains the many, is a powerful and emotive theme and, given the growing popularity of the Anzac legend, one that will genuinely appeal to a wide audience. The story reinforces the tremendous weight of duty felt by Australians who fought in the Great War – because duty is the only value left to justify the sacrifices they made.
‘Last Post’ has been developed with assistance from the Australian Film Commission (1st & 2nd drafts) and the New South Wales Film and Television Office (3rd & 4th drafts). Script Editors: Nick Parsons and Harold Lander. Indigenous Consultants: Harry Brandy and Ron Heron.
Teralba Films held the option of rights and won’t be renewing at this stage.